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Showing posts from January, 2014

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Big Game Day Cheese Nachos with Guacamole

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Nachos Ingredients 1 bag white corn chips 3 cups freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese 1 jar jalapeño slices - optional Guacamole – optional (recipe below) Sour cream - optional
Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lay the whole tortilla chips in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the cheese, add jalapeño slices if using and repeat the process until you have 3 layers. Bake until the cheese has melted.Have guacamole and sour cream on separate bowls, so guests can serve themselves if they wish.
Guacamole Ingredients 4 ripe Haas avocados 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion) 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced Juice of 1 lime 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 jalapeño, finely diced (seeded for less heat) 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon cumin
Directions Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, diced jalapeños,  cilantro, o…

Reimagining The Rest of Your Life

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I watched an interview with Jane Pauley where she talked about her new book, Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life, she was inspiring in so many ways and yet humble about such an accomplished life.  I quietly wished that my life plays out in ways that I can look back and also have that moment where I re-imagine the rest of my life, just like she’s doing in her 60s.  Wait…I’m only 39, that’s a little while from now.  Why not re-imagine the rest of my life every decade?  I’m turning 40 this year and why not start out with this decade?

Jane Pauley talked about finding purpose and feeling the freedom to do what she most wants to do now.I can do that!I can find a new purpose each decade and keep looking for the freedom, and have courage to redefine how I want my life to play out each decade.What a revelation!I always imagine getting to retirement age, or so, and breaking free from all the molds I needed to be in according to my age and to society, but who’s to say that I need…

You're So Small...I Can't See You!

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The most mind-blowing thing happened the other day, and this is what it looked like: I had finished putting together my 2013 photo book and was ready to order it online, but something was not right in one page, so I started to fix it.  My turning point, or more like a brick being thrown at my head, was when I noticed how crammed my pages were with pictures of “friends”.  As I looked closely at each tiny picture, I started to ask myself if I could do without some of the pictures in my crammed book. 
Some people in my book that I consider friends; constantly remind me with their behavior that they are acquaintances and not actual friends, but I haven’t taken the cues seriously.So, when I saw my family and good friends lost among the sea of static (aka acquaintances) in the book pages, I wondered why I would allow such static in my book pages and in my life when the space is so limited?These photo books that I create, are so special and they tell a historical tale of my life and will be …

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Grateful Mondays

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When the roller coaster of life gets to be too much for you - allow yourself to stop and be grateful for what you have.  Remember, it's not possible to be angry, disappointed or upset AND be grateful at the same time.  So choose to be grateful - even if it's just for a few minutes in your day.  You'll start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  
I'm thankful for coffee outings that allow me to catch up with friends.
I’m thankful that my father-n-law is feeling better after a few months of health struggles.
I’m grateful for my walking buddies, Patty and Heather that keep me on my toes.
I’m thankful for Uncle Charley who is such an amazing man and is the most supportive uncle I’ve ever had.
I’m grateful that my children, husband and I are healthy.
I’m thankful for the hope that I have each day – the hope of living a balanced life and finding courage when I’m fearful of the future.
I’m so grateful for you! Thank you for being our Bestie and visiting our site everyd…

Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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My Walking Enemy...

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I was keeping up with my workout routine this past Monday, and while walking around my neighborhood, I stepped on a type cone that had fallen off a tree.  It all played out in slow motion, off the curb there was the tree cone, I saw it and tried for 1 second to not step on it, but it was a painful and dumb last minute move.  I stepped on the side of the tree cone, off the curb, and rolled my ankle!  I was in excruciating pain!  I thought I had broken my ankle.  My husband was with me and went to get the car so he could drive me to the ER.  When I got in the car, I wanted to go home and checkout the damage before running off to the ER.  My ankle started to get swollen and it hurt so much.  We elevated my foot and put ice on it and waited to see if I needed to go see a doctor. 
I talked to my doctor and she said that it didn’t sound like it was broken and that I needed to go into her office the next day if it hurt when I walked.I didn’t have pain the next day but it was super swollen, …

A Fresh New Beginning...

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I finally got around to reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  I’ve had this book on my reading list for 4 years!!  Granted, I’ve been reading other books this entire time, but I like to spend most of my free time catching up on all shows on my DVR instead of reading.  So, I picked up the book with the intention of speed reading through it, so I could move on to the next book or catch up with more shows, but when I read these words, I had to stop speed reading and pay attention; whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.  I never thought of opinions becoming part of my belief system…I just realized that it’s true!!  One extreme example…when I was about 8 or 9 years old, I remember my mother introducing my older sister as “my sweet girl”, and then would say, this is my daughter, Fabiola, my big nose, “feita” (a Spanish endearing term for ugly) dark skinned little one. That was my belief system until a few years…

Lemon Icebox Bars

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LuckyBestie Note: I used 7 graham cracker squares and 7 whole-grain graham cracker squares.
Lemon Icebox Bars 2008, Ellie Krieger, All Rights Reserved
Ingredients Crust: 14 whole-grain graham cracker squares (7 full sheets) 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt Cooking spray
Filling: 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk 1/4 cup pasteurized egg product (such as egg beaters) 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin 3 tablespoons boiling water
Directions Make Crust: Place graham crackers in the bowl or a food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed. Add butter, brown sugar and salt and pulse to incorporate, until crumbs resemble wet sand. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and pack crumbs firmly into the bottom of it. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, cond…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Love Is a Wonderful Thing

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I now realize that love had been the only guiding light in my, at times, dark journey.  My love for my children and husband has guided and taught me so many lessons about love overcoming fear and changing my past preconditioning, and making peace without judging the lessons that I learned through hard knock life decisions.  For the better part of my life journey, sadness was my unspoken language that I could identify with.  Even to this day, it’s hard to say that I’m sad about something; I fear the judgment that might come as a reaction from the person I’m confiding in.   Speaking out the words I’m sad or I’m scared, were words that I was taught to never utter, and now I’m faced with the challenge of not acting out my feelings but instead voicing them out without fear of what reaction might come from the people hearing me out. 
My surroundings as a child and then in my early adulthood, taught me by example that if you lived a life with disappointment, lack of knowledge about a subject,…

Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Dieting Isn't Easy

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I keep reminding myself that eating well and exercising is not a fad and that I have to accept the fact that, ahem...as I get older, I have to work harder to lose weight.  So, at the beginning of 2014, I started my (almost daily) walking routine and have tried to do some sort of exercise everyday, even if it's just for 10 minutes!  Last year, I exercised once a week, at most, and I always felt such a huge relief after I was done for the week.  My big reality check came when I had my yearly physical and my doctor said, "you've gained the same amount of weight each year for the past 3 years, if you continue at this rate, you’ll be in bad shape soon.  It's all about changing your lifestyle to exercise more and eat better".  In that moment, I was offended that she said that to me but when that wore off, I was horrified that I've gained all that weight in the past three years.  
I love burgers and onion rings and I can't EVER pass up a good meal, especially if …

What you would say if…

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What would you say to a friend if your hurt her feelings but didn’t mean to? I recently had a disagreement with one of my closest friends, the words that we both used brought on a two-week silent treatment.  Both of us thought we were right, so with our egos in tow, and words that were twisted by both us, we had a full on fight in our hands and we didn’t know how to fix it.  When I thought back at what started the disagreement, which then lead to a fight of words that was unnecessary, I realized that it was the silliest things that were said that started it all, however, once words started to get twisted and feelings started to get hurt, it turned into a bigger mess than it needed to be.  After a week, the pissed off feelings turned into sadness and disappointment because a situation so small had turned into such a big mess, and neither one of us wanted to pick up the phone and try to sort it out.

Once I stopped trying to be right, and validated my friend’s feelings, we started to ge…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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A Beautiful Sand Mandala Ceremony

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I saw a segment on TV about a beautiful and ceremonious event that is the creation and destruction of a sand Mandala by Tibetan Buddhist monks.  I was enchanted by the ceremony that involved creating an intricate design of a sand Mandala for five days, and then having a highly ceremonial event to destroy what was so painstakingly created with such patience, care, and dedication.  I winced and squirmed as I watched such a beautiful artwork be destroyed.  I’m the type of person who has a hard time getting rid of shoes that are a size too small and haven’t worn in ages, I can’t imagine getting rid of a beautiful piece of art that I worked so hard to create!  This Tibetan art form is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which means “mandala of colored powders.” The beautiful sand mandala represents many things, including creation, the cycle of life, beauty of existence and its impermanence, and finally, the return to the natural world for creation again.  The closing ceremony is lead by a procession…

Tofu Parmesan Subs

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Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 14 min
Cook: 21 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 12-ounce package firm tofu, drained and sliced into 8 pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 loaf whole-wheat Italian bread, cut into 4 pieces and split in half
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound baby spinach (about 8 cups)

Directions
Preheat the broiler. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Toss the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan and the Italian seasoning on a plate; season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Dip the tofu in the …

Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Apple-Honey Drumsticks

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Bestie Note: I made this with white rice - cooked with equal parts chicken broth and water.  I added a cucumber salad (seasoned with lime and salt - set aside for 1/2 hour in the fridge) to make this a quick and tasty meal.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 1 hr 0 min Prep: 20 min Cook: 40 min Yield: 6 servings Level: Easy
Ingredients 12 skin-on chicken drumsticks Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 2 cups apple juice 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce 2 teaspoons honey Grated zest of 1 lemon 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional) 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Directions Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the drumsticks on the rack and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes; flip the drumsticks and continue baking until golden and crisp, about 30 more minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Bring the apple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, lemon zest, red pepp…

What’s “in” For Breakfast

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The most popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, however, that entails eating better and exercising on a regular basis in order to accomplish such goal.  I’m on bandwagon and trying really hard to stick with my new exercise and healthy eating routine!  So, I started walking 5 miles this week with my walking buddies, Heather and Patty.  Our secret weapon is a green juice that we drink while we walk so we get our breakfast and our exercise at once.  You can make it yourself at home or buy at most health food stores around town.

Ingredients 2 apples
¼ head of celery ¼ pineapple ½ cucumber (English cucumber preferred)¼ head of celery ½ bunch cilantro (or parsley) ¼ lime

Combine all ingredients in a blender or juicer and serve. Makes 1-2 servings

Most health food places allow you to pick the veggies you want in your juice so you can add any other veggie you like.  We’re going to experiment and add one veggie a week so we don’t get bored with the same drink. Our delicious green drinks are a…

Natalie's Mission Trip to Rwanda

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On a chilly Saturday morning, while out searching for yard sales around my neighborhood, I hit a jackpot when I ran into a yard sale that had tons of clothes in great shape and in my size!  I made a connection with Natalie (the girl running the sale).  Natalie was warm and very sweet; there was something about her energy that I couldn’t pin point.  I left the sale and went home to try on what I purchased, and with lots of excitement, showed off my huge loot to my kids and husband. As I tried on the last dress, I noticed that it was missing the under slip, so I oddly enough made the decision to go back to Natalie’s house to ask if the slip was laying around anywhere. Get to find out when I got there that the dress didn't come with a slip. As a side note, I’m a weekend yard sale type of girl so this was not my first time going to a sale, and I have never gone back to any of the sales for any reason, even if an item is broken or ripped, I know it’s buyer beware.  Needless to say, I …